The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on September 28 tossed a wrench – although likely only a temporary one – into the nomination process of Colleen Shogan to become the new National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Archivist.

Committee members voting at a business meeting session deadlocked 7-7 on the nomination, which prevents the panel from favorably reporting the nomination to the full Senate.

In the case of a tied committee vote on a nomination, Senate rules allow for the committee’s chair to report that result to the Senate, and gives the Senate Majority Leader the opportunity to bring the nomination to the full Senate through a discharge motion.

At the committee’s September 28 meeting, opposition to Shogan’s nomination was led by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, the panel’s ranking member, who cited what he called the nominee’s “partisan views.”

“I’m concerned about her partisan views expressed in an article and then a series of public social media postings,” Sen. Portman said.

“We went through this in her hearing, these views in my view go beyond mere partisanship,” the senator said.  He also cited a requirement that the head of NARA must be “appointed without regard to political affiliations and solely on the basis of the professional qualifications required to perform” the duties of the position.

Committee Chairman Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., said that he would work with Senate Democratic leadership to get the nomination voted on by the full Senate.

The committee’s tie vote on the nomination follows its hearing on the nomination earlier this month where questioning revolved around her qualifications, and she would proceeding with modernizing IT capabilities at NARA and cut into the agency’s backlog of records requests.

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.